Government announces new deadline for graduation of unified forces

South Sudan's government announced on Tuesday that it will graduate the first batch of unified forces in the coming two weeks after a long delay.

Tut Gatluak, the Presidential Adviser on National Security Affairs, told reporters in Juba that the joint military command is working to pass out the forces in training camps after two weeks.

The presidential adviser, who is also the head of the National Transitional Committee (NTC), the mechanism charged with overseeing the implementation of the 2018 peace agreement, said: "We have met to discuss how to provide the necessities needed for the graduation of the forces.”

For his part, Gen. Santino Deng Wuol, Chief of Defense Forces, confirmed that plans are underway to graduate the first batch of the unified forces.

"We have already organized and categorized the forces to be graduated and deployed. Also, the officers who don’t have assignments have been identified, and they will be assigned when the time comes,” Santino said.

Under the peace agreement, South Sudan is supposed to train and deploy 83,000 forces to take charge of security during the transitional period. These forces will comprise the military, police, intelligence, wildlife and prison services.

The Transitional Government of National Unity (RTGoNU) has previously cited financial constraints for the delay in the graduation of unified forces.

The unified forces in the various training sites have been complaining about the poor conditions in the training centres.

In previous reports, peace monitors said that some soldiers have been deserting the training camps due to a lack of food, water and medicines.

On 4 August, the parties to the 2018 peace agreement signed a roadmap, extending the transitional period of the peace agreement for another 24 months – starting from 22 February 2023.

The parties said the decision was taken “to address the challenges that impede the implementation of the peace agreement.”

Source: Radio Tamazuj

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